This has been a pretty eventful holiday break for me with both a newborn and lots of family in town.  I won’t bore folks with the details, but needless to say I haven’t had too much time for normal gaming, but I did want to catch up on a few things and let folks know that I’m still around and what I plan to do this year.

My gaming time has pretty much revolved around three titles, so I’ll start with the highlights from them as they’ll all be top items going forward.

In LOTRO, I pretty much have been logging in to do my Hytbold dailies and very little else.  I’m almost done rebuilding as I’m down to the regional horses and after that I’ll probably do some instances if I can work them into my schedule somehow.  I didn’t do the festival this year partly do to timing and scheduling but also I really wasn’t happy with the changes and the way the war-steed cosmetics were handled.  Yes, I’ve heard it really wasn’t that bad but with all the other grinds out there it just really didn’t seem worth it to me.  I’m really hoping Rowan’s second comment about Mounted Combat is more correct then his first as it is much easier to find data to support a money grab then a serious long term system, and I want to be proven wrong here.  I won’t dwell on it, but that’s certainly in the back of my mind as this game goes forward and will become more evident when (if) we get an expansion this year.

I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work in The Secret World.  Certainly the End of Days ARG event really sparked my interest and I’m really excited for this game going forward.  I’m still pretty early in the game and am just working my way through the Scorched Desert, but every time I log on I keep thinking I need to make more time for this game!  There seems to be lots of positives coming from the community and twitter about checking this game out with the subscription changes and I really think Funcom has done this change very well.  Would it have been better to go this route from the start, possibly, but I don’t think anyone expected their CEO to be accused of insider trading when the game launched.  The game was profitable while they had the subscription model, and I think making this transition will push them even further into the black.  Remember, they had already scaled back their staff prior to putting out 3 months of content updates in a row.  I’m expecting big things from Funcom and this game and while I don’t expect huge numbers I do think it will be quite a successful game.

For me the big distinction between LOTRO and TSW really comes down to how they’ve handled communications with their player base.  I won’t hammer LOTRO too much, but even the mounted combat issue we’ve heard two completely different answers from Rowan about it.  As for TSW, sure they’ve made mistakes, but they’ve also been VERY upfront about what’s going on and how they’re trying to fix things.  Some might argue that they dropped the sub change on us without notice, but what would you have done with that notice?  I mean they didn’t change the game it self one bit, they just changed how future DLC will be monetized in the game.  The store and what’s in it were always there and they’ve had a good track record for providing new content.  The other aspect I really commend them on is how they’ve handled the Lifetime members.  Personally I never had an issue as I looked at it as getting the content included (like I should) and some extra points to buy cosmetics with.  However, many people were not happy about it and voiced their opinions and actually provided some good ideas and suggestions.  Based on requests, they’ve added the following (link for the source):

  • Veteran reward system
  • DLC Price guarantee for Subscribers and Lifetime members.  The monthly DLC will never cost more then your monthly allotment of points, period.  If they do release something that’s more, they will knock down the price for people.
  • There will be a DLC auto-buy feature for those who want to use it.

All in all, great changes and an incredibly active and constructive thread from both the players and the Funcom team.  I just don’t see that kind of interaction and transparency coming from Turbine, and while I’m sure there are other companies out there doing it, I haven’t been personally involved or impacted by them.

As for my third vice, it is Football Manager 2013 and those following me on Raptr have probably noticed that’s quite a constant game I’m playing.  Not only do I really enjoy that game, but since it has a pause button I can easily let it run and not worrying about where my character was standing or anything like that.  I’m currently in my third season with Everton and finding things going pretty smoothly so far.  I did cheat a bit with the editor and moved Jack Rodwell back to Everton as I’d like to see what he can do as opposed to rotting on the Man City bench.  I have very much over-achieved my first two years, more do to other teams failing then me doing well as United crumbled down the stretch to gift me the Premiere title my first year, and somehow all the strong teams lost to someone else in my run to the Champions League title in my second year.  This third year has had its ups and downs, but I’m halfway through and looking pretty strong.

As we move into 2013 I will most likely be playing these 3 quite a bit as well as Mechwarrior Online.  The only reason I’m not playing Mechwarrior is due to it still being in beta and just not wanting to burn out or waste too much time building up in there only to see it wiped.  However, it is quite a fun game that I know I’ll be playing when it launches.  Outside of that, I don’t see too many upcoming titles that are “must plays” for me, but hopefully that will change.

As for my plans for the year, I will still be writing and looking to keep things moving here as well as possibly doing more videos and/or a podcast.  Both of those will heavily depend on what I end up doing, but certainly potentially in the cards.  My coverage will probably mimic my playing time and start to shift more towards TSW and away from LOTRO, but that too may change based on how things all play out.

As I wrap up this post, I’ll toss two questions out to folks:

  1. Any game titles I should be looking out for and following?
  2. Any suggestions, complaints, requests, etc. for me going forward?